Ten new proposals that will make families stronger, improve your quality of life, and reduce the gap between men and women both at the place of work and at home.
Understanding the results obtained from these proposals makes every hour spent, every meeting, discussion, and deliberation it took to construct these proposals worth it.
Just imagine that you and your partner, your wife or your husband are expecting a new birth, a new addition to your family; and apart from the happiness this child will bring to your lives, you will also start to realise how things may change, how your life as you know it will need to adjust.
It is scientifically proven that the mother shoulders most of the work related to new birth. The mother often sacrifices leaving work to take care of the child alone during its first months of life. This is not always a free choice as the father, unfortunately, is not allowed to help as by law was only given a day, till now.
David Casa Chaired the work-life balance committee, which resulted in Work-life balance Directive that every EU country needs to adopt by August 2022. It was a complete success! Every EU country must comply. Malta included, but every EU country can also improve on the measures if they want to. Many fathers today want to share the work, share the joy, and share the experience of bringing up their children.
The Nationalist Party was not happy with the bare minimum. We wanted more for our families. We wanted them to have more, have stronger families, and reduce the gap between men and women. There is no discrimination between parents who are employed and who are employers. So, there is no discrimination between parents who work with the government and those who work in the private sector.
To us, all families are important, all parents should have equal rights and be involved in raising their children, and we should never discriminate against a child because their parents work in one sector and not another.
That is why we not only improved the measures but made them available for all!
We proposed an increase in Paternity leave from 10 days (provided by the new WLB directive) to 15 days full pay so that fathers can help, especially during the first days of the child’s birth. This not only creates a shared burden of the work but creates a bond between father and child.
We proposed four months of paid parental leave, 2 of which are paid in full.
The greater involvement of the father or partner means that the mother does not need to leave work for an extended time; this reduces the work gap, the gender gap and eventually the pension gap.
We made all these measures accessible to self-employed and employers. For the first time, we have ensured that those who are NOT employees are given equal rights to benefits, which are ALL PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT. There is no burden to the employer at all, by this ensuring equality for all!
We are introducing a financial scheme to support the engagement of at-home child-minding for employed parents. Coming in the form of a subsidy or tax rebate, the government would cover half the cost of child-minding services for single or two-parent households in full-time employment; for parents of children up to 12 or 16 of age and parents of disabled children.
We are also seeking to introduce parental bereavement leave for parents who lose a child, allowing them to claim up to two weeks of paid leave.
We want to create more flexibility for workers and employers, creating a more productive workplace where all can benefit. We are helping to create a situation where all employees, including those who work with the private sector, can benefit from a hybrid Flexi Work situation unless not approved by their employer and justified in writing. Why? Because we want to reduce the inequality that exists in rights between the private and civil sectors.
We are proposing financial assistance to Employers to assist employees who work remotely, purchase ergonomic furniture. This will ease some of the burdens of extra costs. These proposals will improve the overall productivity of the companies that adopt remote and flexible working practices. A study by Stanford of 16,000 people shows that working from home will increase productivity and reduce idle time.
We want to adopt the optional keep in touch days for those parents who would like to work during paternity, parental and maternity. These days are paid in full and worked so that the parents who are not at work are not let out of the loop, both professional and personal. This enhances work continuity and helps employees get back into their work-life rhythm after the special leave.
WE also want to protect employed pregnant mothers by amending the law to ensure they can inform their employer in writing they are pregnant rather than with a certificate (which will still need to be provided) as this may infringe on their benefits.
We are investing in families in their future, and at the same time, we need to ensure that Malta, which has the lowest ever childbirth rate in the EU, is stimulated. We are giving and setting the right conditions for families to grow and do so healthily. We need to ensure we have a Malta tomorrow that can sustain pensions with a workforce capable of attracting investment so we can continue to grow as a nation.
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